Session 06: What To Do Next?

With the Red Brands cleared from Phanadalin and the cellar of the ruins of the Tresendar manor cleared, we move our group from the Stonehill Inn to there. Within the chambers we take advantage of the space and plan to use the left behind supplies for any longer trips we might make and the left over weapons to arm any hirelings we might encounter.

However, it weighs on our minds that we have not saved Rockseeker and we decide that we will go into the liberated town to find what we can about the habits of the Red Brands and other creatures. First, the Sleeping Giant tavern offers us nothing but a drunk owner who hates us for driving out the Red Brands. Second, the town’s leader (Harbin Wester, I think) is terrified of us and pisses himself as we first try to learn more about the Red Brands and second give instructions for how to safe guard the town from a future attack.

With what information we could gather, our best options for finding more about Grunden are to either work on clearing the local forest of goblins or trying to counter the orcs that are raiding the surrounding mines. We opt to supply up and head north about 10 days to where the mines are most likely being raided and set up an ambush to take the orcs and question them. Our goal will be to break them.

With that, we set about buying supplies and mules and hiring some locals to assist with this journey.

Session 05: Red Brands Rebranded!

From the previous fight, one of the Red Brands traded information about the Red Brand’s base for saving his life. He revealed that there are 4 human Red Brands left, 3 Bugbears, 1 Goblin and a one-eyed creature waiting in the ruins of the manor above town.

After defeating the Red Brands in the village, Caeside leads Sildar, Madox, Aranel and Silver Feather up the road to the ruins of the Tresendar family manor, the lair of the Red Brands. Disguised as Red Brands, the party is able to defeat the one human sentry. They then enter the ruins and descend into the cellars below. There they captured two Red Brands in their beds, defeated three skeletons, charm person the final human Red Brand and free the wife and kids of a farmer that the Red Brands killed (and burned their home). Ambrosia escorted the freed humans out of the manor.

With the human Red Brands handled, we explore more of the cellar/dungeon. We find Glass Staff’s lab but he escapes us without a confrontation. Before our pursuit of him, Sildar discovers that the wizard he was supposed to meet in this town sold him and us out to Glass Staff (a letter confirmed this). We then chased after Glass Staff. Caeside cast a spell on Madox to make him move so fast that he bearly touched a bridge over a chasm. Because he only lightly touched it, it did not collapse into the crevice where the Nothic waited. It attacked Madox. We fought it and won.

That battle alerted the bugbears to our presence and they came out to talk. Thinking us Red Brands, they did not attack. They asked if Glass Staff had any orders for them. Instead, they returned to their room. We set up an ambush and Caeside went to their room and asked their leader to come to Glass Staff’s office where we ambushed and killed the leader. We then went to the bugbear’s room where Caeside wild shaped into a rat and entered the room to use Thunderclap. We then ran in and dispatched the largely depleted monsters.

Glass Staff escaped as did the 3 wounded human Red Brands. Regardless of that, the night was ours and we found a magic long sword (+1), potions, scrolls, treasure and, most importantly, liberated the town.

Session 4: Redbrand Attack
Derailing the Module

Last night we were down another player (my wife) and the paladin’s player still hasn’t been able to make it, so that left Silverfeather, Aranen, Caeside, and Maddox. Fortunately, Sildar Hallwinter was happy to hang with the group who had save him last session, which gave them a much-needed tank. My wife has been wanting some one-on-one time anyway, so we just explained her absence as being off on some mission or another.

Sildar approached the group after discovering that his friend and contact, a wizard named Iarno Albrek, had never made it to Phandalin. As they discussed their plans while visiting the market, four red-cloaked ruffians approached the party. “This is our town, strangers, and it’s time for you to move on. So just drop your stuff and get out.”

At this point, the module expects a fight to break out and gives no back-up plan for if the PCs avoid it. It didn’t count on Caeside using his position as a priest of the Old Faith and a fair amount of smooth talking (with some really good Persuasion rolls) to diffuse the situation. The four ruffians were put completely off-guard, with those born in the area being reluctant to attack a druid, and so withdrew to carry Caeside’s offer to meet to their mysterious leader, Glasstaff.

After soothing the cowardly townmaster, the party withdrew to the inn to discuss plans, not really trusting the Redbrands to negotiate peacefully or in good faith. They discussed getting the townsfolk to rise up against them, but given that the town was so cowed that they didn’t do anything even when the Redbrands burned down a farm, killed its owner, and either killed or kidnapped his wife and daughter, the likelihood of rallying around a bunch of outsiders seemed slim. If they could break the back of the Redbrands, on the other hand, show them to be vulnerable . . .

They decided to lay an ambush that night in case of retaliation, but found some Redbrand watchers already keeping an eye on the Stonehill Inn. Not wanting to risk anyone inside, they faced the Redbrands on the street and in the fields behind the inn and quickly defeated them. Due to a late start, the session ended there, with the band planning on taking the battle to the ruins of Tresendar Manor, where the remainder of the Redbrands and their mysterious leader would hopefully be caught off-guard by the attack.

Session 03: The Goblin Caves, Take 2
Introducing Madox

When last we left our heroes, they were fleeing the goblin caves, having slain several both outside and inside the lair, but now having drawn the attention of those within. Caiside used his last spell slot to heal Ambrosia, getting her back on her feet, just as four wolves, followed by a half-dozen goblins and one very irritated bugbear emerged from the cave. Realizing that they could not outrun the wolves, the party quickly climbed several trees, whereupon I promptly informed them that no giant eagles would be showing up to save their bacon.

Silver Feather slew the lead wolf with an arrow. Ambrosia used a cantrip to summon the image of a skunk, while Caiside used one of his to waft the smell of a skunk over the wolves. Since they had already fed the wolves and the wolves failed their intelligence saves, the combined illusion succeeded and the wolves fled. Unfortunately, the illusion was not so successful against the goblins, who quickly split up and tried to approach hidden in the underbrush. The party managed to keep eyes on four of them, but two disappeared from sight, as did the bugbear a round later.

In the meantime, Madox Sprio, an old friend and sailing buddy of Silver Feather’s, came up the trail looking for the kenku. Hearing the noise of battle to the north of the trail, he investigated with caution (which saved him from the goblins’ snare trap).

Silver Feather and Aranel exchanged arrows with the goblins, killing and/or wounding three before the two who had managed to hide appeared behind them and opened fire from a flanking position. One struck Silver Feather, wounding him just as the bugbear emerged from the brush with a roar and began climbing Silver Feather’s tree. Ambrosia jumped from her tree and charged at the other, taking an arrow herself but managing to wound the goblin with a thrown dagger in return. Silver Feather made a desperation move of leaping down on the bugbear. While managing to wound the bugbear slightly, he hit the ground hard and was incapacitated.

Just then, Maddox leaped from his concealed position, killing Ambrosia’s goblin with a slash of his curved shortsword as he ran towards his friend. Aranel managed to distract the goblin and bugbear from their kill with missile fire long enough for Maddox to close, killing the last goblin with a swipe of his sword and delivering an open-handed blow with his off-hand that would have killed a normal man but which barely fazed the bugbear. Fortunately, he was soon joined in close combat by Aranel and Caiside, and the three of them managed to take down the bugbear before it could inflict further casualties.

After a short rest—and four out of five characters actually leveling up due to the module’s instructions that experience points for combat should be given out immediately. Inside, they found some treasure, a fair amount of equipment belonging to the Lionshield Trading Coster. They also found signs that the goblins had had a prisoner, one who they might have missed entirely had not Ambrosia been keeping guard at the cave entrance.

The prisoner, Sildar Hallwinter, had been Gundren’s body guard when the two were attacked. He told the party that shortly after they had been taken prisoner, another group of goblins had appeared and taken custody of Gundren and taken him elsewhere.

The party returned with Sildar to Phandalin, where they received some cash rewards from both him and the Lionshield Coster (for the return of their stolen goods). The party decided that they would create a more formal organization, with half of all earnings going to a group purse and the remainder being distributed evenly among its members.

Session 02: Scouting the Goblin Cave
Introducing Aranel

We had a bit of a reshuffling of the party for this session: The paladin’s player couldn’t make it, and we had a new player join the group who wanted to play a wood-elf fighter. Since the paladin took a huge beating from the goblin ambush in the first session, we just decided that he was still recovering from his wounds and the wood-elf was another friend of Gundren who had sought the party out when she heard rumors of his disappearance.

So this week’s party consisted of:

  • Ambrosia, the dragonborn bard (played by my wife)
  • Silver Feather, the kenku swashbuckler
  • Caeside, a mysterious druid
  • Aranel, the wood-elf fighter

Four characters, none of them wearing anything stronger than leather armor. So right off the bat they decided that this was just a scouting mission: They wanted to locate the goblin lair, assess their strength, and then possibly withdraw to gather more sword-arms before making a real assault.

The best laid plans . . .

They made their way back to the ambush site, arriving just before midday, where they found the horses and goblin corpses removed. Caeside used speak with animals to befriend a robin, who led the party north to the goblin cave and warned them in time to avoid the snare trap. (I didn’t have stats for a robin, so I used the hawk’s passive perception vs. the trap DC, and the robin won.) Forewarned about the trapped path, Silver Feather searched ahead and found the pit trap. So far so good.

Arriving at the cave, the party crept forward. with Silver Feather climbing a tree from which he could spot the goblin guards in the thicket to the right of the cave entreance, from which a stream of water flowed out. Unfortunately, the goblins spotted the elf and a brief ranged battle took place. Ambrosia used disguise self to make herself appear a (rather large) goblin and got in range to cast charm person on one of their foes. However, due to a lack of coordination ahead of time, Silver Feather promptly shot both goblins from his perch. With a sigh, goblin!Ambrosia entered the cave.

Ambrosia ran into a half-dozen goblins deeper in the cave, failed to bluff them, and had to run out. In the meantime, the rest of the party had managed to soothe the wolves in the right-hand with food and discovered the chimney leading up to the cave of Klarg, the bugbear leading the goblins. They turned to pull back just as Ambrosia ran past, being trailed by the half-dozen goblins she had encountered. The party made quick work of them, but were spotted by a goblin lookout further up the cave, who opened up the water reserves to wash the party out. Ambrosia was swept out of the cave and knocked unconscious, and the others decided to beat a hasty retreat.

And as they flee, they can hear the howling of wolves and the roar of something far worse echoing in the cave behind them . . .

The Bane-Sidhe
Session 01 Side Quest - A Deal with the Devil

Adventurers Involved:

  1. Valifor

Locations Involved:

Sister Gareille, the local cleric of the Church of Law and adherent of Tyche, has requested Valifor’s aid as a paladin to retrieve information from Agatha, an elf twisted by dark magic into a mockery of her former self.

The Church is seeking an ancient tome formerly owned by an individual named Bogentle and believes Agatha to have information about its present location. The sister provided Valifor with a jeweled, silver comb to present to Agatha in exchange, a sop to the demon’s vanity. She further advised Valifor to treat the bain-sidhe as he would any noble at court, politely but without guile or flattery. She further warned him that approaching this task in any state short of absolute purity risked losing the Divines’ blessings in this task.

The Redbrands
Session 01 Side Quest - Learning of Troubles

Adventurers Involved:

Locations Involved:

Numerous residents of Phandalin report troubles with a group of local toughs calling themselves the Redbrands.

From all reports, these thugs originally arrived as caravan escorts and bodyguards but, having spent their coin on food and other indulgences, demanded more for free. Without a strong town guard or local leader to dissuade them, they soon settled in at the top of the village’s food chain.

Their leader is a mysterious figure known only as “Glasstaff,” a shadowy presence spoken of but never seen. He is speculated to be a magic user of some form.

Their base of operations is the local manor of House Tressendar. Valifor explains that Tressendar is a minor house, ambitious in the way typical of unentrenched noble families, with only a small amount of interbreeding with the Ten Great Houses. They have a reputation with the Church as being associated with deviltry and demon worship.

Harbin Wester is the town’s rightful sheriff, but he lacks both the manpower and force of will necessary to stand up to the brigands.

Session 01: Gundren's Delivery
The Road to Phandalin

Adventurers Involved:

  1. Ambrosia
  2. Caiside
  3. Silver Feather
  4. Valifor

Location(s) Involved
The road through the Whispering Woods to Phandalin

Gundren Rockseeker hires four adventurers to escort a shipment to a new settlement.

Along the road the adventurers discover the bodies of two horses slain by black-fletched arrows. Ambrosia and Valinor move forward to investigate and nearly die in a goblin ambush before Caiside and Silver Feather move forward and the recombined party slays the goblins.

Looking around, Silver Feather discovers well-used tree stands and piles of old bones, indicating the goblins have been using this tactic for some time. From the uppermost stand, he sees a hill to the northeast.

Exploring the other side of the path, Caiside locates a purpose-cut trail leading to the hill.

In examining the goblins’ corpses, Valifor finds one of the goblins to have an insignia carved into its chest: a mountain with a toothed mouth.

One of the slain horses bears saddlepacks with Gundren’s mark upon them indicating the animal belonged to him, though whether the beast was his mount or another’s is uncertain.

After dismantling the stands and lashing the goblins’ corpses to the trees, the party elects to continue on and arrives at Phandalin just as the sun sets and a full moon lights the village. The presence of a half-dragon and bird-man elicits some reaction from the locals, though not the furor one would expect in the more “civilized” regions of Callain.

Elmar Barthen takes receipt of the shipment and provides payment in full. He seems somewhat agitated that Gundren did not arrive ahead of the shipment and confirms that Phandalin faces numerous troubles.

In putting together various clues, it seems possible the goblins captured Gundren and took him back to their hideout, either at the aforementioned hill or at a location known to Caiside.

After a brief discussion, the party splits apart to see to their individual needs.


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